Last night, as you know, was the final curtain call for the beloved World Showcase ride, Maelstrom. A lot of our readers felt pretty sad over this ride closing in Norway to make room for a Frozen attraction, so I wanted to go there and get some last minute photos and video. Epcot was packed last night. I’m not sure if it was just because of Food and Wine, the Starship concert, or the closing of Maelstrom that packed the crowds in, or a combination of all, but there was wall to wall people there. It was crazy busy, but the weather was mild and beautiful!
We headed to Norway early in the evening, just to look around and take pictures. The stand by line wait was 90 minutes around 6:00. The pavilion area itself was very crowded, and a lot of people were trying to get in those last minute pictures while they could. We had Fast Passes for later that night, so we left for a bit and came back around 8:00. When we got back, it was dark outside by then, and the crowd grew even bigger. The stand by line at that point had grown to 130 minutes, so I was thankful for our Fast Passes! We grabbed the video camera and headed in for our final ride on Maelstrom.
During the ride, while taking pics and such, I was also trying to take it all in. It was hard to multi-task though truthfully. I wanted the kids to enjoy the ride too, being that it was our last one ever. Once we got off the boat, I talked to a couple Cast Members, as well as a Manager. They were saying how emotions had run high all day, and that the pavilion was busier than they had ever seen it. The Manager said it’s funny how once a ride is closing, then it gains extra popularity, etc. Same thing with the Backlot Tour last week, but I think Maelstrom is a little different. It’s more sentimental.
We headed into the Norway movie next. We watched the show, and people applauded once it was over. We walked through the end of the queue for the last time, then walked through the store, which won’t be closing. After all was said and done, I stood back out in front for a few more pictures and a last look around. The buzz outside of Maelstrom was so strange. It was sad, nostalgic, and a bit surreal. I looked around and saw people taking their last minute photos and video, and heard chatter among the crowd, people talking about how sad they were to see Maelstrom go. I heard people talking about how special Maelstrom was to them and their family, and it made my heart hurt a little. For me, I don’t like change, but I do my best to roll with it when I can. I’ll miss Maelstrom, but I also look forward to what’s to come. Seeing other people looking sad, and hearing the various stories from people on the scene, really touched my heart. Isn’t it funny how Disney attractions can pull on our heartstrings? How the little things mean so much to people and their families? It’s amazing.
I’m so glad I was there last night to see the final evening for Maelstrom. We did our best to put together a video as well, so that Main Streeters could see Maelstrom one last time, from the comforts of home (see link below)! Thank you for following along with us, and for sharing your stories with us too. And thanks to Maelstrom, for the life long memories that many of us will always treasure.
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